Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd's Pie psd_2126 copy copy




Shepherd’s Pie

Makes an 8 x 8 pan

You can use either ground lamb (which makes it Shepherd’s Pie), ground beef, which makes it Cottage Pie, or ground turkey which makes it – I have no idea.
It took me forever to realize it was called Shepherd’s Pie because shepherds herd sheep, not cows and definitely not turkeys! I can be a little slow sometimes.
Can somebody please tell me what cottages have to do with cows?

For the filling
1 pound either ground lamb, beef or turkey

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small/medium onion, small dice – keep separate from other ingredients after dicing
2 large cloves garlic, minced – keep separate from other ingredients after mincing
2 ribs celery, small dice
2 medium carrots, small dice
Carrots and celery can go in the same bowl
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon sea salt
½ to 1 teaspoon Marilyn’s Essence
2 tablespoons white or pastry flour – this can be white rice flour if you’re gluten free
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup beef broth – homemade bone broth is the best for this but if you don’t make your own an organic beef broth will do
¾ cup frozen peas

For the potatoes
1 ½ pounds either Yukon gold or red potatoes
¼ cup half and half or heavy cream or milk – for dairy-free use unsweetened soy, almond or hemp milk
4 tablespoons butter or Earth Balance butter
sea salt to taste
freshly ground pepper to taste

Sauté the veg

Using a 12 inch sauté pan, start by cooking the onions.
Put the 2 tablespoons olive oil into the sauté pan and heat it till it shimmers. Or you can put a piece of onion into the cold oil and when that starts to sizzle the oil is ready.
Put all the onions in the pan and season with a little sea salt. Sauté the onions until they are translucent, rich and creamy looking. This can take up to 10 minutes.
Add a little water every so often as the onions cook, just enough to prevent burning, not enough water to boil them. Stir regularly.

When the onions are well cooked and all the water is gone, add the garlic and cook until you get that lovely garlicky aroma.

Now add the carrots, celery and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Sprinkle with a bit more sea salt and stir. Add a splash of water and put the lid on the pan.
Stir regularly and cook until the carrots and celery are tender. Not mushy, not crunchy. Tender throughout.

Add the meat and finish cooking the filling
Add the ground meat of choice, a bit more salt and ½ teaspoon Marilyn’s Essence. Stir regularly until the meat is browned and cooked through – about 3 to 5 minutes.
Now sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the meat-veg dish and stir, cooking for another few minutes.
Next add 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 cup of beef broth.
Stir and cook on a medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, then add ¾ cup frozen peas to the mix.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Put the meat and veggie mixture into an 8 x 8 baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 400º

Make the mashed potatoes
My preference is rustic mashed potatoes for this dish, which are not peeled, but that doesn’t float everyone’s boat so it’s up to you if you want to peel them or not.
The potatoes in the photo are peeled.

Fill a 2-quart pot with water a little more than halfway and add 1 teaspoon sea salt
Peel the potatoes if you choose.
Cut them into 1 inch cubes
Put the potatoes into the pot of room temp water and bring to a simmer over a medium-high heat.

When the potatoes are fork tender drain them in a colander, then put in a bowl and while they are very hot, smash with ½ stick (4 tablespoons) butter and ¼ cup milk of your choice.
Season with salt to taste and if you like a little freshly ground black pepper.
If you’d like a very smooth texture to the potatoes put them through a ricer.
The ricer isn’t going to work for the rustic potatoes with the skins on. Those are just smashed with a fork or one of those potato smasher tools.

Put it together
Spread the potatoes over the top of the mixture in the pan. My favorite tool for this is an offset spatula.

No offset spatula? (and maybe you don’t know what one is. Here’s a photo) →
offset spatula_SX300_

Then a regular rubber spatula or a knife does the trick.



Bake it
Put the 8 x 8 baking pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the potatoes start to brown.
The meat and veggie mixture should be bubbling a bit.
Let this sit for about 15 minutes or so before serving.

Variations on a theme
Try using Japanese Sweet Potatoes in place of red or yukon gold potatoes.
Mixing some cauliflower with the potatoes – half and half, is lovely also.

It’s easy to keep this gluten and dairy-free by using rice flour instead of white flour, almond or hemp milk to replace the milk/cream, and a vegan butter to replace regular butter.

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